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Photovoltaics (PV)

Thin film coating on PVThin film coating on PV

Nanotechnology offers significant promise for Photovoltaics…

Photovoltaics (PV) have been known for generating inexpensive energy, but at a high cost. The efficiency of PV cells is low, usually under 30 percent. Often times, arrays of PV cells must be installed over large areas to generate enough power for mainstream applications. This can prove to be problematic or impossible.

R&D efforts have focused on improving the efficiency of PV through new materials that are innately able to convert more solar energy into electrical energy or through the use of composite materials that convert solar energy into a wide spectrum of wavelengths. Nanotechnology is also being used in the form of quantum dots which ensures most of the photons from the sun hitting the solar panel dislodge an electron and in so doing generates electricity.

However, the latest developments in thin-film electronics are taking PV into new markets that would never have been considered with traditional PV. This is made possible by innovative materials that enable PV arrays to be coated on surfaces using relatively low-cost printing machinery.

This new printed PV shows efficiencies that are not only lower than traditional PV, but also offers access to indoor environments or environments where the device being powered doesn't have direct sunlight. As a result, there are several applications that will soon be able to utilize PV technology.

One application is thin-film PV coatings for roofing and wall products. The idea is to coat thin-film PV arrays onto roofing or walling. Installing a PV panel on a roof is obviously not a new application. What is new, however, is that with this coating process, instead of having a PV panel on the roof-the PV panel actually becomes the roof. The extra cost of the PV-encrusted tile is much less than the extra cost of traditional PV and the costs of the installation are also reduced.

Resource

"The New Thin Film Electronics: Large Area Electronics and Beyond"
By Lawrence Gasman
Principal Analyst
NanoMarkets LC
lawrence@nanomarkets.net

 

 

 


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